[WIP] Railroad Station - Complex exterior photorealistic scene

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Old 11 November 2014   #1
Cool [WIP] Railroad Station - Complex exterior photorealistic scene

Hey guys,

There comes a time in every 3D artists life when he/she has to make a car, a train and then usually a jet or a car engine. It's so funny how it goes

I've just wrapped up my last personal project which was a car ("BMW M3 VFX - Integration into live footage") so predictably, thru a set of accidental circumstances, I'm onto the next one right away—the train.

I'm doing a 3d photorealistic scene of this place (Google Street View link): http://www.instantstreetview.com/2j...ri2l8z365znrz2u

Pic from street view:


It's gonna be pretty much what you're seeing in the street view.

I live in a nearby town of this place and this railroad station always had this kinda romantic vibe to it that I really liked. So, now that I've wrapped up the last project, I cleared my schedule, started taking much less freelance work and started this one.

I've also taken a couple of reference pics myself while traveling thru there and I'll be going there soon as well.

The previs/scene layout looks like this:


The scene is super complex and I've kinda divided it into phases:
* Train modeling
* Environment modeling
* Texturing
* Vegetation
* Lighting
* Rendering

I've gathered around 300 reference pics so far.

I've also started train modeling and it's really awesome and challenging. I chose to model the GE Dash 8/9 40-C train because it looks awesome. The blueprints were tough to find and not perfect but they're decent.



I've started this project and gathering refs on November 23rd, so here's the progress so far:


I'm also modeling the train in a separate scene. (BTW. the front cabin sucks atm, I know)

I wanted to do this project in VRayBlender as I've been playing around with it lately but since I had to (finally!) upgrade my Max from 2009 to 2015 because of some freelance work, I thought it'd be fun to try the new Max.

Anyways, more updates soon, I'm working on it a lot!
Cheers, David.
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Last edited by davidKatara : 11 November 2014 at 02:41 PM.
 
Old 11 November 2014   #2
OK, so the lack of references for the bogie (the wheel assembly on trains) is what was keeping my progress slow.

I ran into some CAD models of various bogies and I finally understand how it actually works.

Here's a few screenshots I took.

Brakes:


Suspension:


The actual bogie on the train I'm modeling:


The actual model is coming soon, I just started working on it.
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Last edited by davidKatara : 12 December 2014 at 03:45 PM.
 
Old 11 November 2014   #3
Oh yeah, I'm gettin' into the zone, freaking love modeling.



The splines on the right are done first and used as a guide for mesh modeling from a plane.
Taking a short break to eat and then back to work for another ~2h until I hit the bed.

Cheers,
DK.
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Old 11 November 2014   #4
Good start with previz and all. Will be following to see the progress.
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Old 11 November 2014   #5
@maxster: Glad to know! Thanks for commenting.

Whew, this was fun. Really fun.









Progress, sweet progress.

Right click on the pic and click "View image" or "Open image in new tab" to see in full res.

Back to work.
Cheers,
DK.
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Last edited by davidKatara : 11 November 2014 at 02:31 PM.
 
Old 11 November 2014   #6
Lack of references for the "inner workings" of this thing are why I'm so slow.

The reason why I'm doing this with so much detail is because I want the train to stand on it's own as a separate piece for my modeling portfolio. It will be in the scene of course, but a nice turnaround animation and such will also be done as a modeling showcase.



I did brakes and a bunch of small stuff. When I unhid all the stuff after I modeled the brakes, I realized brakes are barely visible

Anyways, I'll keep modeling bit by bit, I'm modeling from a ton of different bogies and kinda designing my own because I can't really see what's exactly inside.

Any progress is good progress.

Thanks for checking out this thread
Cheers,
DK.
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Old 11 November 2014   #7
Testing.



Noisy because of the quick render with V-Ray progressive sampler.

I'm just checking how much detail do I actually need, the final will be 4096x1707.
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Old 11 November 2014   #8
So far so good. But it will be a good habit to make an instance of mesh smooth modifier on all objects with viewport visibility turned off since you are using 3ds Max. By that way you can control smooth modifier on all objects at the same time. Otherwise it will be hard to keep track of modifiers on each objects.
Just a tip.
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Old 11 November 2014   #9
Over the last few days I've been following your thread, so decided chiming in today just to add a few thoughts...

I'm always intrigued how other artists approach their individual projects in terms of technique together with personal workflow/s especially WIP's, in saying that thanks for sharing a very descriptive update commentary, at least for myself I've managed to pickup a few hints/tips here-n-there.

As a result I'll certainly keep an eye on your progress as you continue to develop this complex scene, oh...! and BTW liking the locomotive modelling detailed in your base mesh, its honestly coming along quite nicely. :)

Anyways needless to say keep up the extremely good work.

Cheers ;)
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Old 11 November 2014   #10
@maxster: Damn, that's actually a good idea, thanks!

@sakboi: Glad to know this is helpful, thanks!

Ok, I'm pretty much done with this part, I'll move on to modeling other stuff on the train now. There are just a few tweaks I need to do before the bogie is fully done.

Here's a 3k viewport screenshot of it all. Right click and "view image" or "open image in new tab" to see it in high res.



Cheers.
DK
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Last edited by davidKatara : 11 November 2014 at 02:26 PM. Reason: pic is now .gif
 
Old 11 November 2014   #11
Alright, so I'm slowly progressing with this train and I wanna finish it before doing any environment stuff.

So pretty much, the train todo list at this point looks like this:
- Front part
- The main body behind the front cabin
- Back part
- Front cabin
- The stuff underneath the body
- Final tweaks and detailing







Cheers,
DK
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3D/VFX artist, photographer, entrepreneur.
 
Old 12 December 2014   #12
I'm back!
Slow, but steady progress.

Here are some new fancy AO renders.





I'm currently working on the front part, having a hard time finding good close-up references for it.

Cheers,
DK
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Old 12 December 2014   #13
Well slow and steady wins the race But you can simply ignore the inner parts if such are not visible in the camera. The thing is later it will take a toll when rendering the final images. A lot to cover, good progress so far.
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UH-60 Blackhawk
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Prototype (Cars)
https://vimeo.com/80189808
 
Old 12 December 2014   #14
@maxster: Yeah, I kinda figured it out, I'm just gonna put in what I see on the pictures, the stuff underneath will be pretty unlit and dark anyways. I can simplify the model when I import it into the railroad scene, I'm just detailing it to have it as a separate piece for a modeling reel/portfolio. Thanks for commenting! BTW Your Black Hawk project kicks some serious ass!

This front part is almost done, just needs a few more pieces and some detailing. This pic was rendered two days ago, now I've moved on to the middle section.

I'll render that as soon as I make some significant progress on it.

I also did a quick rigid body sim of the chain in Maya. I usually go with Blender for RB sims but I've had some exporting and scaling issues from Max to Blender so I just used Maya.



More coming soon!
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3D/VFX artist, photographer, entrepreneur.

Last edited by davidKatara : 12 December 2014 at 04:28 PM.
 
Old 12 December 2014   #15
Great work so far man, your thread has been great to follow. Thanks for continuing to post regular updates of your progress!

Be careful not to overuse mesh smooth, and try to keep flat surfaces completely flat. Its a super subtle thing, but it can really help in final renders. When you meshsmooth something and use lots of edge loops to form tight bevels, you can end up with slightly rounded flat surfaces. It might look perfectly fine in preview, but it will show in a high quality raytrace render. Instead of a totally flat highlight that might evenly cover the whole surface, you'll end up with rounded and distorted highlights and reflections. Its kind of one of those going from 95% realism to 98% realism things.

Are you also using instances for repeated parts? It can really help on your scene file size, and when you add more detail to a part, it automatically updates the rest.

Are you sticking strictly with this train model number, or are you pulling from multiple sources and trying to get something that would look right to the ordinary person? If your having problems finding exact reference material, there's nothing wrong with a little improv to fill the space with appropriate looking details. For example, all of that tubing under the carriage would be impossible to model correctly without detailed drawings. You may just want to freehand some tubes that are roughly in the spirit of what you can make out from your reference images.
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